Battle of Beersheba charge to be remembered at Kings Park service


Friends of Israel WA chair Kevin Campbell (back) and secretary Phillip Samuell are marking the 100th anniversary of the World War I Battle of Beersheba next Tuesday. Picture: Jon Bassett
Friends of Israel WA chair Kevin Campbell (back) and secretary Phillip Samuell are marking the 100th anniversary of the World War I Battle of Beersheba next Tuesday. Picture: Jon Bassett

THE Australian men and horses of the last great cavalry charge in Israel will be remembered at a service marking the 100th anniversary of the soldiers’ role that changed history at the Battle of Beersheba, in Kings Park next Tuesday.

“This year with the anniversary there is going to be a major celebration in Israel, and commemorations in Canberra,” Friends of Israel WA secretary Phillip Samuell said.

About 200,000 people now live in the Israeli Negev Desert city of Beersheba, about 120km southwest of modern Jerusalem.

In 1917, it was a one-street town with water that was a major military target for Allied forces fighting to push out the German-backed Turkish Ottoman Empire east of British-controlled Egypt and its vital Suez Canal.

During the charge on October 31, 1917 about 1100 men and horses of the 4th and 12th Australian Light Horse regiments fought against dug-in Turkish troops, who were sometimes supervised by German officers.

Brandishing only their bayonets, the Australians on their horses took the town after Turkish troops had forgotten to change the sights on their rifles and were firing high, after expecting the mounted troops to dismount and fight on foot.

Next week, mounted horsemen will parade from the 10th Light Horse Memorial in Fraser Avenue at 9.30am, followed by services at the Flame of Remembrance at 10am and the adjacent Jewish War Memorial about 10.30am.

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